Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Welcome Guest Author: Catherine Mann

"Catherine Mann - Dog Days of Writing"

I never thought I'd be the whacky dog lady. The eccentric writer, sure. But the dog lady? Nah. Not me. I'm a clean freak. My pantry's packed with rows of Chlorox wipes and I'm the first the hit the sale bins of anti-bacterial hand Bath and Body Works. I kid you not, this one time I needed to be fingerprinted for approval as a babysitter for DCS, and the fingerprint expert accused me of bleaching off my prints!

Soooo, how does someone like me become the dog lady?

Well, writing is such a solitary profession, I worry about having a life outside my house. (Other than going to Walmart to buy more Chlorox wipes.) A valued mentor of mine once reminded me of the importance of "living your life as you seek to write about the lives of others." With 8 books coming out in 2010, that's easier said than done. Little did I know the answer would be found in my youngest son's service project.

We began fostering motherless puppies for the Humane Society in the beginning of 2009, puppies dumped at the shelter too young to be adopted and in need of extra attention. I expected it to be a frustrating, messy project, but resigned myself to helping my kids learn from the experience - and then move on! We already have two dogs and a cat of our own, after all.

Five weeks later, I realized those four little Rottweiler/Retriever puppies gave far more to me than I did to them. Suddenly, I was out in the world again for their vet visits at the shelter. My family and I spent more time in the yard together - and got to know our neighbors better. In fact, my chronic back troubles eased considerably thanks to the extra walks with my hubby and puppies. My stress level lowered. I sleep better.

And miracle of miracles, I still met my deadlines.

Having found a surprise calling, we fostered 21 puppies overall in 2009, all of which have gone on to be adopted into forever families. As I write this now, three Pomeranian/Chihuahuas are scampering around my feet with our dogs. Sure, I still freak out every now and again, chasing after puppies with Chlorox wipes in my fingerprintless hands. But I'm a much happier and more productive person overall for finding the value in stepping away from the computer and taking in the world around me.

So here's my question for you.... When we foster puppies, we're given the joy of naming them, but sheesh, we're beginning to run out of ideas. What are some of your inspired pet names? And if you've got a fun story behind the name, please do share! I will choose two winners from the wonderful folks who post and send an autographed copy of one of my January releases – RENEGADE (Berkley Sensation) and BOSSMAN’S BABY SCANDAL (Silhouette Desire.)

Catherine Mann
BOSSMAN'S BABY SCANDAL, Silhouette Desire - On Sale Now!
RENEGADE, HOTSHOT & DEFENDER, "Dark Ops," Berkley Sensation - On Sale Now!
USA Today best-seller Catherine Mann pens military romance for Berkley and steamy contemporaries for Silhouette Desire. A RITA award winner, she has over two million books in print in 20 countries. She resides in Florida with her air force flyboy husband, their four kids and menagerie of pets! FMI:


Anonymous said...

i like naming dog 'people' names: bella; emma; sadie; jessie; callie.


KylieBrant said...

Welcome, Cathy! And wow, *8* releases this year? You're a machine! Don't forget to tell everyone you just hit the USA Today list, too. Woo-hoo!

Our current dog's name is Lexie but before that we had a Lhasa Apso that I named--Cujo, LOL.

Terry Odell said...

Our dogs have always come from others, and they've had names. Heck, coming up with names for our kids was enough of a fright.

I did have to hand-raise 4 baby possums once, and I called them Abercrombie, Bertha, Charlotte & Desdemona.

Debra Dixon said...

Cathy-- Welcome to our 'vertible!

My best dog name story is my current dog. She was a stray that had 8 puppies under my house during a remodeling project. My husband called her Cujo but she was just a scared baby (about 12 months) protecting her babies.

Long story short, we helped her raise her babies and kept her. In the process, we realized she thought her name was "Sweetie." Why?

Come here, Sweetie.
It's okay, Sweetie.
Let me see that, Sweetie.
Move, Sweetie.
Here's your dinner, Sweetie.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Kathy. Really GREAT to see you here! And all I can say is WOW on the 8 releases. Seriously? Picture me kneeling at your feet.

Funny pet names: We never had cats until 4 years ago when one just appeared in our house - I thought he'd followed me in the door and I hadn't seen him. I put him out. He kept coming back in. Finally I realized that the SLY little critter had figured out how to get in through the doggie door. Clearly, we now had a house cat so I made a bed for him on the back porch where he curled up that night. Next morning - yep. There was another cat curled up beside him. Apparently he had a BUDDY.
Now we have 2 cats - Sly and Buddy who we adore.
So does Margaret - the Brittany Spaniel - here name is a whole other story :o)

Virginia C said...

My Mama was one the greatest fans of Elvis Presley in the whole universe! I am also a great fan of Elvis, from my childhood on into present day. Mama was also an animal rights champion, and we always had a houseful of pets. A litte stray cat that we adopted, "Shorty", had a litter of kittens. The last kitten born was jet black, and Mama named him "Elvis"! Mama is gone, but Elvis the cat lives on, beautiful and regal. Still jet black, with electric green eyes. "The King" of our household. Thank you. Thank you very much. Uh-Huh.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Catherine Mann said...

Hey there, Karenk! I have a Sadie!!! The smaller of my two dogs (see photo of me w/adult dogs) is named Sadie!! We think she's a Boston Terrier/Pug mix based on what her mom and her siblings looked like. She's full grown now, but still looks like a boxer puppy - go figure?!

Sadie was a Humane Society puppy fostered in a family. I had never heard of that before, but I sure did notice how social she was when we got her. That first planted the seed in my mind.... :-)

Like the names, but Callie in particular caught my eye!

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Kylie! ::::Smooches:::: You're a sweetie to mention the list thing. ;-) Am still happy dancing over that - was a long time coming!

Lexy is a cute, cute name! Just before these pups I fostered two cocka-poo puppies w/a mom named Lexy. The puppies got adpopted right away. Sadly, poor mama dog is still at the shelter. She needed some socializing and is getting lots of walks and loving from volunteers.... hopefully soon she'll be set! (Can you tell I get attached to these furbabies?!)

Thanks again for inviting me to blog! What a great, great space y'all have here!

Catherine mann said...

Terry!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looooooove Desdemona as a name!! (I wrote my Master's thesis on Shakespearean women. ;-) It's fun to come up with theme names for the litters.... I haven't done a Shakespeare theme yet. And the Abercrombie could be fun along with some other store names. Cute! Right now, the Pom/Chiha pups I'm fostering are named Cookie, Cupcake and Candy. They're snuggly little cuties!

Maureen said...

Congratulations on all your releases this year! I think it's a wonderful thing that you are willing to take care of those puppies. When I was a kid our dog was Goliath and the dog we had for our kids was Casey and then there are the cats named Sassy, Liberty (adopted on 4th of July weekend) and Curious.

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Debra! Thanks for the welcome! What a delight to finally meet you "in person" even if it's in cyberspace. I've long wanted to meet you and our paths never quite seemed to cross.

What a precious story about Sweetie/Cujo! And how wonderful that y'all were able to see past her mama-defensiveness to give her a great home. I just love hearing stories like that! What kind of dog is she?

Helen Brenna said...

Hi, Cathy! Congrats on all those releases and thanks for visiting with us today!

Wow, you do such amazing work for all those puppies. I've thought of fostering, but I'm afraid I'll get too attached. Isn't it difficult to let them all go?

I wanted to name our last dog Chuck, but the kids wouldn't let me. So he's Charlie. LOL I love people names for dogs.

I go to an offleash dog park most days and the names are always a kick. I've met a Lulu, Lilly, Chester, Bruiser, Mitch, Fergie, Willy, Stretch, Nikki, Sam, and Brinkley, to name a few.

Love you pics!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Welcome Cathy!

Kudos to you and your son for fostering pups for the Humane Society! I really really appreciate the work you're doing. We adopted a 1 yr-old Lab last summer, and she's the sweetest, best behaved, most beautiful dog in the world. The only drawback is the shedding, but I have a broom, a dustpan, and a Furminator. I can't sing her praises loudly enough! So Cathy, you're an angel.

Except for one thing. You make me feel like a slacker. How many books out in 2010. No, no, don't say it again. Green looks terrible on me.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Catherine. I love your writing. Our cats names are Max and Harley and our dog's name is Gypsy. We aren't too inventive when it comes to names.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Chiming in on Cathy's canine calling. Daughter Elizabeth has been a Hearing and Service Dogs volunteer for several years, and her latest project is finding homes for puppies who will go into training after 6 months. This means people will have to do the puppy stage and then give the dog up for a very worthy cause. Many abandoned dogs become service dogs through this program, so it's doubly worthy.

Elizabeth is running a phone bank drive (looking for puppy foster parents) in early Feb, so if anyone wants to help, let me know. I'm not a happy phone banker, but I'll do it for good cause (as long as it's not cold-calling, which this isn't). The web site for this org is:

I can donate a little time and a little money, but the big boosters are the doggie foster parents. Cathy, again I salute you!

Lori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori said...

Hi Cathy! OMGoodness, the picture of the puppies in the toybox? Too precious for words.

I've often wanted to foster dogs, but unfortunately, our dog doesn't take well to other dogs in her territory. Thank you for doing what you do.

As for names? When we rescued our Corgi/Golden Retriever mix (picture a full-sized golden chopped off at the knees *g*) her name was already Teddi. And while she looks like a Teddi, her personality is much more along the lines of her two nicknames: Cujo (meant in the most loving way) and Dogzilla.

lois greiman said...

Thanks for joining us at Top Down, Catherine. And thanks for saving puppies. It's a worthy calling. I'd give you ideas for names, but I'm all named out...between my fictional characters and my own animals I'm just going to start putting numbers on my friends.

LSUReader said...

What a wonderful thing you are doing, fostering those homeless pups. We adopted our Suzie Q, who is named after the Credence Clearwater Revival song and her own slightly corkscrewed tail. (Dog names from songs--maybe you can try that!) We've had Suzie for more than 15 years and she is simply the best. She's sleeping on her bed a few yards from me now. When she needs to go out, she will get up and make meaningful eye contact with me. When she needs to come back in, she will knock on the door. We can't immagine our home without our adopted Suzie, who was briefly fostered before we got her by a warm-hearted person like you. Thanks.

cissikat said...

Congrats on your eight releases! What a year you are going to have! Right now, my little dog is Leonidis (from 300), Leo for short, and my big dog is Daisy Dork. My best name was for a cat I had in high school. He shredded everything and got into brother helped me name him HellRazor but we called him HR for short!

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome to the convertible, Catherine!

We named our cat Maxwell, then my daughter looked up the name and she said "Max" is the most popular dog name. (We won't tell the cat.)

I always figured if I had a dog (which I won't; just a cat person) I'd name it Actaeon, after a Greek mythological character. Just love the sound of that name. (And it was a dog's name in the movie Queen Margot.)

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

Lovely post, I have named my dogs after movie stars, usually the classic stars, as that is my fav movies as such.
We had a Cocker Spaniel we called "Bogart", after Humphrey Bogart.
And a cat called "Connery" After Sean Connery. LOL!
Congrats on your many releases, wow!

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Cindy! And howdy from my hubby too! He still talks fondly about meeting you during our Rita year in NYC!

Yes, yes, I do remember your kitties and Spaniel! They're still on my website! For those of you who would like to see the pets of some of our fav authors, here's a link. (Scroll down past the photos of my pets to get to the author pet part. :-)

Catherine Mann said...

Oh, Virginia! Your mom sounds awesome - an Elvis kitty - gotta love it! My son had four turtles he named after the Beatles. ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

Maureen, isn't it interesting how we can remember the names of all the pets we had over the years as kids? What a huge role they can play in our growing up! Goliath is a name I can definitely see giving to some of the puppies that come through. ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Helen! Aren't off leash parks awesome? We finally got one right here in my little town. It'll be opening in a couple of weeks. Everyone in the area is so excited!

Thanks too for the list of names! I'm writing down all the names folks are suggesting here and saving them for future pups.

And about getting too attached.... that's a great question. One of the things that helps is our shelter is great about letting the foster families spell out what they can handle - no guilting folks into taking extras. They realize that not burning out the foster family is more helpful in the long run. For example, I only take the puppies that have been dropped off without their mom. I know if that mama dog makes it into my house, I won't be able to send her back. (It still kills me seeing the mom of one of my fosters who got dropped off later and is still unadopted and she was never even in my house.) I also never foster more than four at a time.

Other folks prefer to foster w/the mom because the mom does more clean up and feeding. Others prefer to foster one special needs animal.

Anyhow, here's an article I wrote for our local shelter on fostering, specifically addressing the issue of getting attached. Once you click on the link, scroll down for my article.

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Kathleen! May I take a moment to be a fawning fan?! I have long loved your work. It's so cool to be answering a note from you!!

I hear ya on the lab shedding thing. Who'da thought a lab could shed so much?! Our yellow dog Sam is a lab/retriever mix and he sheds like crazy. (Furminator rocks, though, doesn't it?!) My mom also got me a Roomba for Christmas and I run it OFTEN. It's just about eliminated the shedding issue, thank goodness, on the floor anyway. There's still all that fur in the air that lands on furniture. :-/

And kudos to for the donating you do to your local shelter!! That's a huge help that I know they appreciate!

Catherine Mann said...

Crystal, I looove the names you've picked - Harley is just so darn cute and Gypsy, what a sassy name! And actually, I had a German Shepherd named Max when I was growing up, so I'm quite partial to that name. ;-)

And thanks for the cheers for my writing - I really appreciate it!!!

Catherine Mann said...

Kathleen - That's awesome what your daughter does. Wow! I'm copying the link and heading over to my local shelter's facebook page to post it. What an amazing thing for your daughter to do.... and also those foster families that are committing to loving a dog for so long and then letting them go. That length of time would be really tough. Huge kudos and thanks to your daughter - and thanks to you for bringing this to my attention!

Catherine Mann said...

Lori - thanks for the smiles on the toy box photo! Those were the first puppies we fostered. We had them from 3 weeks old until they were 8 weeks old. We had a steep learning curve with that batch!

Cute mental image of your doggie, btw! I can soooo visualize Teddi!

Catherine Mann said...

ROTFLOL, Lois! Numbers on the friends.... too funny.... reminds me of House calling the doc "13." ;-) Thanks again for having me here to blog! Am having such fun!

Catherine Mann said...

LSUReader - Love the idea about naming dogs after songs... Layla, Suzy Q, Maggie Mae....will have to keep thinking on that one! Cool!!

Catherine Mann said...

CissiKat - you just made me spew diet coke all over my computer screen! What fabulous pet names! they sound like real characters. ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

CissiKat - you just made me spew diet coke all over my computer screen! What fabulous pet names! they sound like real characters. ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

Michelle - As I noted before, love the name Max because of my German Shepherd!

And on a side note since we've been talking about song names as well, Max made me think of the Beatles song "Maxwell's Hammer." We got the kids Beatles Rock Band for Christmas and have been playing just about everyday! Hubby and I have been surprised how much we enjoy it too. ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

Drew - Oh my, how can I help but totally melt over a dog named Connery!?!

Christie Ridgway said...

Hi, Cathy! I don't no which I'm more envious of, those darling pups or the fact that you wrote enough words to have 8 books out in 2010!

As others have said, I like "people" names for animals. Current pup is named "Hank," but he was given that by people who had him before us (we "rescued" him from a situation). Our cat is "Goblin" because she is all black and more creature than cat.

My in-laws just brought home their third yellow lab. The two before and now this one named Brandy. I can't imagine naming all my dogs the same. Privately we call her Tracy, as in, uno, dos, tres, she being the third dog with the same name.

Amber Leigh Williams said...

I have three labs my husband and I raised from puppies. I can't write without them napping at my feet.


SusanMallery said...

Hi, Cathy! Great blog. Love the puppy pictures, and I so admire the work you and your kids are doing.

I love the story of how Sly and Buddy got their names, Cindy! Too funny!!!

Silvia said...

It's difficult to choose a name I find. You want it to "fit" your dog even when no longer a pup. And it just has to be te right one.
I have a fondness for those short names like: Jake, Mark, Lisa, Toby, Rae, Dana, Ames, Mills, Paul, Duke, Anna, Luca, Sage, Drew, Hugh, Kyle, Sara, Gena, Nick, Jess, Pete, Cora or Tash.

chey said...

My grandpa's dog was named Footprints because of some muddy foot prints he left on the floor as a pup. We called him Printsy.

Emmanuelle said...

OMG they're too cute for words !! I love the pictures, thanks for sharing !

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Christie - What a cute name Goblin is!! We called the larger Rottie puppy in the toy box photo "Boo" because he looked like he had a mask on. He was a fun fella! I think it's cool how a pet seems to pick out its own name!

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Amber! Are the three labs from teh same litter? Or did you get them as puppies at different times? How sweet that they all have each other for companionship!

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Susan! Thanks for the nod to my kiddos! They really have been much more helpful about this than I would have expected as it's stretched out to more of a permanent thing. My daughters tend have a tougher time letting go, so then they end up pulling back a bit at times. But my younger son - who's actually the most tender hearted - is one hundred percent there helping. I'm really proud of how they've stepped up to the plate to give up some of their free time to help out.

My hubby loves having the puppies around and we enjoy fawning over them - kinda a retro moment back to the baby days. But he does have a problem with actually going to the shelter. He's a big ole warrior guy, combat vet, but soemthing about the animal shelter just gets to him...

Soooo....hmmmm.... how did I head off on that tangent?!

Minna said...

Pol, Silk (After the characters in the books by David Eddings), Piki, Luna, Ringo, Dingo...

Catherine Mann said...

Great list, Silvia! And you know, everything I've read says it is good to stick with shorter names like you've noted.

Love how my list for future puppy names is growing! Thank you!

Catherine Mann said...

Printsy! How cute, Chey! Kinda sounds like Pincey - like he was a prince. And as a matter of fact, I spent about an hour today mopping up muddy doggy prints. Along with all those bleach wipes, I'm a huge fan of Fabuloso cleaner for my floors. ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

And thank YOU, Emmanuelle, for the smiles over the puppy photos! My parents get after me sometimes because they said I e-mail them more photos of the dogs than I do the kids lately. I'm now trying to have more photos of the dogs and kids together. ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

Minna, what lovely and original names - very cool additions to the list!

Jennifer said...


When I lived in my old. apt. building one of my neighbors had a beautiful black and white dog named NEO. It always reminded me of Keanu Reeves' character in the Matrix movies. So, I thought to myself, if I ever get a dog, I would name it NEO because it was a cool name (in my book).

Jane said...

Congrats on the new releases, Catherine. I've only had fish as pets and when I first got my beta I named it Sapphire because it was blue.

Catherine Mann said...

Keanu Reeves, yuuuuuuuuuum!!! Thanks for the great big smile, Jennifer. ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

Jane, I love beta fish! There's something so wonderful peaceful about watching them swim around.... lovely creatures!

robynl said...

what an awesome job your family is doing; wow!!!
We have had 3 fur babies:
Sebastian (Sabby)
Taffy Nicholas
Sammy Joe(Sam, Samson)
We took Sabby and Sam from people who couldn't look after them anymore. Taffy was a teenie pup when we got her and sadly we had to put him down very early on-he became very aggressive and the vet thought he had a brain tumor or something. We had him in obedience training for months.


QLady48 said...

Hi Catherine, nice post!! I think we all luv dog pics and stories!! I really enjoy your Dark Ops series, but I still need to read Defender. Somehow last year I got behind. We had many dogs as I was growing up and we used all girl names for them. We had a german dog and we named her Heidi. A cute blondie and she was Cindy. Sometimes they look like their names!! I always like Toby for a large male dog. Bless you and your fam for the good you're doing with the rescue pups!! Thanks, Sue

Catherine Mann said...

Robyn - Thank you so much for the great, long list! You've got quite a knack for naming pups!

Big hugs on how things turned out with Taffy - that must have been so heartbreaking. It sure sounds like you did everything possible for Taffy. {{{Hugs}}}}

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Sue! Thanks so much for your praise for my Dark Ops fellas!! Hope you enjoy DEFENDER as much as the other two books!

Heidi is such a sweet name - I looooooved that book and movie as a kid!

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, I LOVE this! Fostering puppies! Where do I sign up? Except I'd probably drive the fiancee batty and end up brokenhearted when I had to give them away.

Kudos to you and your wonderful son for finding such a lovely and worthwhile project. God must be smiling.

Linda Henderson said...

Well lets see, when I was a kid we had a half cocker spaniel/bassett hound that we called Ducky because he had short legs and waddled like a duck. I've have a cocker spaniel named Dusty because he was blonde and had a little goldtone on him so he looked dusty all the time. I had a black cocker spaniel I called Velvet because her coat looked like black velvet. I had a brown border collie mix we called Brownie (how original). I think that's it. Unfortunately I can't have pets in my apartment, I really miss that. Good luck with your dogs.

Debra said...

Hi Cathy! Saw the link to this article on FB, so thought I would drop in. The toy box picture is just too precious for words! ;0) My 140 pound lab is named Brutus Valentine. Brutus after Brutus the Buckeye and Valentine because he was born on Valentines Day. My next dog is going to be named Troy Palamalou. If you don't follow football, he is a Samoan guy that plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is my favorite player ever!Of course, I would call him Troy for short. Other potential names for my next dog(s): Otis, Angus, Cleatus, Jake, Roscoe, Daisy, Tink, Belle, Boudreaux, Chester, Louie to name a few. I am full of ideas! hee,hee

mariska said...

well, i named my cats ( i know i think cats and dogs are 'the same) some below ;

- Bobo (my favorite cats)
- Grayshe
- brownie (reminds me of my favorite cakes..teehee)

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Betina! Wow, what a nice thing to say!! Truth be told, these little pups have been a real blessing to us. (Well, most of the time! ;-)

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Linda! I have to confess to a special soft spot in my heart for bassett hounds. Our long time dog Trooper was a bassett/beagle mix. He was 15 when he passed in March. We miss him still. My oldest son is graduating from college this year and he's already decided he wants a bassett hound right away. :-)

Pamela Keener said...

The name of my pets have been

Catherine Mann said...

::::waving:::: Hey there, Debra! Your doggy names are guarenteed to make folks smile in a totally awesome way. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

Catherine Mann said...

Hey there, Mariska! We totally adore our cat too!! (An orange tabby named Cooper. :-)

Catherine Mann said...

Hey there, Pamela! I love the names of your pets.... I can envision what each of those pets must have looked like from their names. :-)

Pamela Keener said...

Yes my pets have suggested their names to me by either their coloring or their attitude. I have yet to have a Princess, LOL, but I will never rule it out if the shoe fits as they say.
Love & Hugs,

Laurie said...

I only had one dog a Shetland Sheepdog names Sandy MacGregor. Sandy Mac was his nickname. I got him when I was in 2nd grade. I found him at the foot of my bed, dead, when I was 18 and leaving for college. I lost my best friend that morning.

Catherine Mann said...

Oh, Laurie, how sad to lose such a dear friend. And how touching that he chose a place he felt most loved and safe to rest his head for the last time. Your note brought tears to my eyes!

Catherine Mann said...

Many thanks to all of you for having me here to chat! I had a wonderful time hearing about your pets and sharing about mine. And I now have a nifty new long list of names for upcoming fosters!

Cheers & Thanks!
Cathy :-)

Joanne Rock said...

Well shoot, a day late and a dollar short! I was prepared to catalog the finer points of all my favorite dogs to lobby for their names. I'm going to winnow it down though and for posterity's sake just leave it at this... Duke!

What adorable pics!

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